It's that time again. Time for big hits and even bigger goals. Time for staying up half the night to watch those triple overtime thrillers. Time for one player to step up and lead their team to Lord Stanley's Cup. It's time for the most exciting two months of the year—the playoffs.
There are many strong teams and strong leaders in the playoffs this year, but one man stands high above the rest. The man is Nicklas Lidstrom, captain of the Detroit Red Wings and the best defenseman in the league for the last decade.
Lidstrom's combination of experience, leadership and pure playing ability are rivaled by no other player in the league. His resume of experience on hockey's biggest stages include three Stanley Cups, an Olympic gold medal in 2006, and a Conn Smythe in 2002.
As a leader, Lidstrom learned from and took over for Steve Yzerman, the greatest captain the game has seen. Though he had such big shoes to fill in that regard, Lidstrom stepped up earlier this year, coming back from an injury to lead his team out of a month-long slump to win the President's trophy.
His ability to play hockey has won him five Norris Trophies, along with the reputation as being the one player that every coach wants on the ice when the game is on the line.
The Detroit Red Wings have the experience and talent to win this year's Stanley Cup, and the truth is that there are many different players on the team that would be eligible to win the Conn Smythe. The simple fact is, though, that no player is as valuable to the Red Wings as Nicklas Lidstrom.
That is why I chose him as the player that will win this year's Conn Smythe Trophy.